Need to keep finger on pulse of city to effectively deal with COVID-19 situation, HC tells Delhi government

ANI
·4-min read
Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court

New Delhi [India], November 13 (ANI): Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that the situation in the national capital is fairly dynamic as regards the spread of COVID-19 infection and the Delhi Government must keep a finger on the pulse of the city to be able to deal with the situation effectively.

The court's observation came while allowing Delhi Government plea seeking to reserve 80 per cent of the total ICU/HDU beds for patients suffering from COVID-19 infection in the 33 private hospitals due to spiralling cases of the virus in the national capital.

A division bench of Justice Hima Kohli and Justice Subramonium Prasad said: "We are of the opinion that the situation in Delhi is fairly dynamic as regards the spread of COVID-19 infection and hospitalisation of patients critically suffering from COVID-19 infection."

"The appellant/government must keep a finger on the pulse of the city to be able to deal with the situation effectively," the court said but it also questioned the Delhi Government of doing everything under the sun to unlock things.

"Given the fact that there has been a sea change in the ground reality when the impugned order dated 12.09.2020, was issued by the Delhi Government, a time when the number of COVID-19 infection case in Delhi was hovering around 3,000 to 4,000 patients per day, the said figure has more than doubled as on date and it was expected of Delhi Government to have kept abreast of the situation and monitor the same closely," the court said.

Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain on instructions from Udit Rai, Special Secretary (Health), Delhi Government said that 33 Nodal Officers have been appointed by the Delhi Government to co-ordinate with each of the 33 hospitals and one Nodal Officer has been appointed in each district of Delhi, who collectively report to the Special Secretary (Health), Delhi Government on a daily basis.

"If there is such a team of officers available, then the Nodal Officers ought to have been empowered to relax the norm of 80 per cent blocking of ICU beds in the case of each hospital so as to deal with any emergent situation in relation to a non-COVID patient needing an ICU bed, without strictly adhering to norms declared in the impugned order dated September 12," the court said.

"We have expressed this view in the light of the fact that at the end of the day, no person suffering from a health emergency should be made to run from pillar to post if there is an ICU bed available in a particular hospital," the court said and vacated a stay imposed by a single-judge bench on the Delhi government's order on the reservation of 80 per cent ICU beds in 33 private hospitals for COVID-19 patients.

The division bench issued the order observing that there is a rise in COVID-19 infections in the national capital.

"We are of the opinion that in view of the present situation in Delhi where cases of COVID-19 infection are spiraling daily and the ground reality that had weighed with the learned Single Judge for passing the order September 22, has undergone a radical change, the interim order dated September 22, 2020, ought to be vacated," the court said.

The division bench directed to continue Delhi government decision on the reservation of 80 per cent private hospital ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in selected hospitals till November 26, the next date of hearing before the single-judge bench, and asked the Delhi government to file an additional affidavit on material information before the single-judge.

The High Court was hearing a petition filed by the Delhi government against a single-judge bench order imposing an interim stay on its decision to reserve 80 per cent ICU beds in 33 private hospitals in the national capital for COVID-19 patients.

Earlier in the morning, the bench had sought to know the rationale behind specifically choosing these 33 private hospitals for reservation of 80 per cent ICU beds for COVID-19 patients and asked Additional Solicitor General Sanjay Jain to take instructions on the matter.

ASG Jain urged the court to empower them for two weeks to reserve 80 per cent of ICU beds for COVID-19 patients in selected 33 hospitals in the current scenario when over 8,000 patients are being added every day. (ANI)